This week we are looking at RSS Feeds and RSS aggregators/news readers. The library staff are evaluating Pageflakes, although I opted for Google Reader simply because I use iGoogle (so one less username/password to remember) and there is a widget for my iGoogle homepage.
There certainly seem to be a number of uses for newsreaders in a college setting. Having recently looked at what scholarly activity encompasses in a HE in FE context (see John Widdowson for a good overview), one aspect is current awareness through professional reading. In conjunction with a more academic alerting service (like ZETOC) this would be a good acedemic use of a newsreader. Similarly, for CILIP Chartership/ACLIP candidates, setting up a newsreader for library sites/blogs would be good evidence of professional awareness/CPD.
From a tutor’s perspective it is a useful tool for monitoring class blogs. Using the same principle we have a Pageflakes page showing all the library staff blogs (in relation to their reflective accounts on the Library Web Quest).
As regards RSS feeds – newsreader services seem to be a better way of keeping upto date with regularly consulted websites/blogs, but an RSS feed is a good way of promoting the library service (and the library blog in particular). Currently we have an RSS feed to our library blog on the college’s Moodle (VLE) homepage and we will add one to the MyAthens homepage (which students use to access online resources remotely).